If you’re an online student, you probably already know how difficult it is to stay motivated at times. With distractions, procrastination, and other commitments all playing a part, it can take a lot to stay disciplined when studying remotely.
While the art of self-discipline is one that, admittedly, needs to be actively procured, it is also critical to keeping you on task when studying online.
Keep reading for our comprehensive guide to staying disciplined, motivated, and on track in online courses.
Be Prepared: Understand Your Course Requirements
One of the most important components of staying on track while completing an online course is to be prepared. When studying remotely, preparation is key – so is, of course, understanding your course requirements.
If you are completing an online MBA program, for instance, you should be able to access the course syllabus, assessment requirements, and other key course information as soon as you enroll. Usually, for online students, the course materials are provided digitally and are available to download from the online student portal or university intranet. Downloading these resources ahead of time, and familiarizing yourself with their contents, will enable you to prepare yourself for the study semester ahead.
Once you are familiar with the course requirements, you will need to plan and map out your study schedule. Generally, you will have a certain number of assessments that are scheduled for submission throughout the study period. It is important to note your assignment submission due dates to ensure you stay on track and are not left cramming at the last minute!
It may also help you to diarize the course schedule of learning outcomes. Often, a course will be broken up into weekly or bi-weekly themes, which bring with them specific readings and learning materials that are assigned to be completed within that period. Make sure to stay on top of your scheduled learning outcomes for each period, to be sure that you are well prepared, and not left behind in your online classroom discussions.
Manage Your Time: Schedule in Study Sessions
The next most important aspect of being an online student is learning how to manage your time. As you are studying remotely, you quite literally only have yourself to be accountable to. In this sense, a great deal of self-discipline is required to motivate you to study.
Using a productivity app can help immensely when trying to schedule your time effectively. Some examples of productivity apps include task assignment and time management programs, habit tracking software, or even, what are commonly referred to as distraction blockers.
Once you have identified and selected the productivity tools that will help you focus on the tasks at hand, it’s time to schedule dedicated blocks during which you will focus solely on your studies. These study sessions can also be referred to as hours of power. The “power hour” concept dictates that this period needs to be completely task-focused and removed from any external distractions. The argument is that developing a sense of tunnel vision during these dedicated blocks of time allows for ultimate concentration, focus, and discipline. This is ideal for anyone attempting to study online.
Stay Motivated: Create a Productive Study Area
Another way to stay on track and keep motivated when studying remotely is to create a study area that is conducive to productivity. Keep your study area clean and tidy, and try to minimize clutter which can lead to distraction. Making your study space as pleasant and inviting as possible will also encourage you to sit there for longer periods of time. Speaking of sitting, ensure that your study desk and chair are as comfortable as possible. Ergonomic furniture is key to your comfort and back support, and will also enable you to sit and study for longer.
Another way you can make your study area more inviting is by purposefully creating a space that is both uplifting and relaxing. This will help reduce a feeling of stress while studying. Soft, warm lighting is ideal for this purpose. You may also want to invest in some calming decor, or even, a pleasant room fragrance – whatever helps you stay focused, calm, and motivated in your study space – the choice is yours!